July, 2009 | Em Hotep!

Archive for July, 2009

31
Jul

The Pyramid of Pharaoh Teti

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, Saqqara

tet-tabThe Sixth Dynasty rolled in like the thunderhead that portents a rising storm.  There had been tension between the royal line from which Teti descended and the one which had just vacated the throne.  Court officials had grown accustomed to wealth.  Provincial nobles were flexing their will to independence.  Famine.  Waves of refugees.  Ongoing religious reform.  Teti’s agenda could be summarized in two words–damage control.

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29
Jul

The Unknown Soldier Memorial

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Cairo, Lower Egypt, Modern Egypt, Pyramids, Tombs

tus-tabOriginally commissioned by President Anwar Sadat to memorialize the soldiers who died in the October 1973 War, the President himself would die within sight of the memorial, which would become his final resting place. 

This modern-day pyramid symbolizes the eternal spirit of the Egyptian people and their long, complex history.

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27
Jul

The Pyramid of Pharaoh Unas

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, Saqqara

una-tabThe King is dead, long live the King.

The death of Pharaoh Unas prompted the most fragile transfer of power in the Old Kingdom to date, but it would hardly be the last, or the worst.  Without an heir, or at least one who ascended to the throne, the fact that the crown passed from one dynasty to another peaceably amidst a time of growing turmoil is a testament to what remained of Egypt’s institutions.

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26
Jul

The Children of Egypt

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Modern Egypt, Photo Essays

coe-tabIn the last photo essay I posted, I stated that Egypt’s most important natural resource was her history.  That was incorrect. 

The number one most important natural resource of any country is its people, and its most important people are its children.

This photo essay is dedicated to Egypt’s children.

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zah-tabLast week I mentioned the Tutankhamen exhibition going on at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, a mere two-hour drive from Louisville. 

Well, add to that a visit from Dr. Zahi Hawass..

 

 

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26
Jul

Blogroll Roundup for July 26, 2009

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Egypt in the News

The Seti I replica tomb project, Egyptian rock art, the Guardian Geese of Abusir, and more.

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mer-tabIn every recession there are winners and losers.  Meet Chief Justice and Vizier Mereruka, one of the winners.  Even as the kings during his lifetime were building ever-smaller and cheaper pyramids, this officer of the royal court built the Taj Mahal of the Sixth Dynasty.

Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration.  But Mereruka stands out as an excellent example how the power dynamics were shifting as the Old Kingdom entered its twilight years. 

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21
Jul

The Pyramid of Pharaoh Userkaf

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, Saqqara

usr-tabPharaoh Userkaf is one of the many Egyptian kings who have left very few clues regarding his biography and reign.  Well, he did leave a pyramid and a few temples from which we have been able to extract a couple of details. 

Actually, these structures contain some intriguing clues about Userkaf and his times, and a shadow of things to come.

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19
Jul

Blogroll Roundup for July 19, 2009

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Egypt in the News, Living in Louisville!

This is a collection of several Egypt-related stories that appeared this week on some of the blogs I follow.  Find out about a couple of pretty cool discoveries.  See what Zahi Hawass is up to down in Thebes. 

And for my fellow Louisvillians:  Heads up!  There is a wicked King Tut exhibition just two hours away!

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dam-tabThe number one natural resource in Egypt is history.  Unlike its oil-rich neighbors, the Egyptian economy relies on the foreign money of tourists who fly into Cairo from all points of the compass to see colossal monuments, puzzle over cyclopean architecture, and experience walking where the ancients once lived out their days.  This has resulted in an organic fusion of the very ancient with the ultra modern. 

No place on earth exemplifies this merger like Cairo.  This photo essay takes a look at some instances where the ancient meets the modern.

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9
Jul

The Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, The Giza Plateau

khu-tabWhen Pharaoh Khufu set out to trump his father’s pyramid at Meidum he set the bar higher than would ever be achieved again.  Khufu had a reputation for being a cruel and despotic ruler, and ignoring all other speculation about how the Great Pyramid was built, the sheer logistics of completing the project within the presumed timeframe suggests in the very least a classic overachiever.  Whatever else may be true of Khufu, the man knew how to get things done.

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9
Jul

The Pyramid of Pharaoh Khafre

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, The Giza Plateau

kha-tabThe second pyramid built on the Giza Plateau, and the second largest in Egypt, Khafre’s Pyramid takes advantage of its superior location to steal the limelight on the plateau.

Possibly symbolic of a second son who was not his father’s first choice to reign, Khafre’s Pyramid steps forward from the plateau’s horizon as if to say “I will have my day in the sun…”

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9
Jul

Pyramid of Pharaoh Menkaure

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, The Giza Plateau

man-tabPerhaps it would be a stretch to call Menkaure’s Pyramid modest, but it is significantly smaller than those of Khufu and Khafre.  He is recalled much more fondly than his autocratic grandfather and seems to have been less vain than his statue-happy father, although more of his statues survived intact and are of such exquisite craftsmanship as to suggest that maybe quality over quantity was Menkaure’s trademark. 

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9
Jul

What is a Pyramid?

   Posted by: Shemsu Sesen

   in Lower Egypt, Memphis, Old Kingdom, Pyramids, Saqqara, Temples, The Giza Plateau

pyr-tabFor starters, it’s a large four-sided structure made of stone, wide at the bottom and pointy at the top, making a perfect triangle. 

There are three of them, they are located in the middle of the Egyptian desert, they were built by slaves, and they have mummies in them.

Right?  Well…

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kod-tabIt’s the northern tip of a vast cemetery that spans the desert from Memphis to Cairo.  It’s the home of the Great Sphinx, scores of pyramids, and thousands of tombs.  One of its features, the Great Pyramid, is the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World, and the best minds still can’t agree on how it was constructed.

Welcome to the Giza Plateau, the only place on Earth that is recognizable from outer space because of a few 4,600 year old buildings.

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